Dig This…

Was checking out a detecting page on Facebook, and noticed a photo of someone digging in what appeared to be a front yard.  What caught my eye was that he was using a shovel.  Now I know a great many of you use these trendy items, and that’s fine if you are relic hunting or detecting an overgrown area, but in someone’s front yard….?

Understand that I very much appreciate the shovel idea.  I am 71, dealing with arthritis, neuropathy, as well as lower back pain, and not having to bend over so much would be a welcome change.  Unfortunately I am primarily a coin hunter, and most of the sites I detect demand a lot of careful and deliberate digging, not to mention the outward appearance and impression I need to present.  Being seen with a shovel, no matter how small, would probably not garner me a lot of respect.

I am also amazed at the cost of these short handled shovels.  A few that I looked at were in the $100 range, and I couldn’t help thinking how many coins I would have to dig just to recoup that amount.  Then again I guess it’s like any other pastime where cost is just an incidental compared to the pleasure one derives.

It wasn’t too long ago I thought I was moving on up to the big time when I went from a screwdriver to a Lesche digger, but I am now the ancient mariner. No shovel, no knee pads, no pinpointer, no GPS and no camera (and yes, believe it or not, I too used to walk a mile to school).

Western & Eastern Treasures, 1992

Western & Eastern Treasures, 1992

While I was writing this I remembered an old Western & Eastern cover photo from 1992 (photo by Pete Yavner), and remember getting chastised by other hunters because I was shown holding a shovel. I was accused of giving the pastime a black eye….I kid you not (never mind that Pete and I were hunting for a cache at an overgrown homesite at the request of a family). How laughable is that now….



Just read John Winter’s latest post Neil Oliver – Scotland’s Roving Ambassador” and really enjoyed it.  Given the recent dialogue I had with Lisa MacIntyre, Mr. Oliver adds additional hope that the battle between the archaeologist and detectorist might someday be a thing of the past. The interview is a shortened version of an article published in The Searcher in 2008. Hope you will take a moment to read it. It’s a good one.



An old friend suddenly appeared from out of the blue. Joe Grasso, an old friend from North Jersey contacted me to tell me about a new website he has. Joe describes it as follows …

It specializes in the buying, selling & trading of used detecting gear. I started it purely out of frustration, after having a heck of a darned time trying to find an older 1021 CZ-3D. I signed up to auction sites, forums, etc., all to no avail. I finally tracked one down…after 3 months! Hopefully, this website will save this headache for other detectorists…and in the process, save them money, too. Buying used is smart, especially in this economy.”

The website is currently 100% advertiser free, and I hope to keep it that way in the future. No spin, no brand proselytizing, and no manufacturer bias. This ‘business’ is purely a labor of love…an effort to make horse trading for other treasure hunters a bit easier, after becoming frustratred with my own buying, selling & trading through the years”.

I can personally relate to this, having just found an old 6000di Series2 hipmount….

You can check out Joe’s new website at TREASURECLASSIFIEDS.COM .  Joe has been detecting now for almost 25 years, and is a damn good coin hunter…



Anglo Saxon Headstone Found In Garage

Viking Treasure Comes to Isles

Fort Tell of Spain’s Early Ambitions

South Shropshire Ring Declared Treasure



Received a couple of Task Force updates from Allyson Cohen, a.k.a. the Detecting Diva, and suggest your check them out. The Cook County, Illinois situation is the most important at this time. We all need to take a few minutes and contact the folks there to express our concerns. You can find the contact information by going to Allyson’s WEBSITE. Thanks for the heads up Diva!



I am currently experiencing a lot of problems with my blog site, and hope you will bear with me…Not sure exactly what is wrong but I am trying to find a solution.  Right now I am unable to load photos, center items, etc.



Filed under Metal Detecting

15 responses to “Dig This…

  1. Ancient Mariner indeed! That was yesterday … hopefully!
    How refreshing to note that you are now stopping people with new tales of derring do instead of harping on the same old subject. 🙂 Careful, John. ‘Nuff said.

    Great cover on the magazine! It’s uncanny, but even then you looked like Coleridge’s hero!

    I haven’t commented on the shovel / spade issue because I believe we have different ideas on what these items really are. Another prime example of being divided by a common language.

    Thanks for alerting people to my latest blogpost. Should I be thinking about joining social media?

    Enjoyed reading this latest effort, Dick. Keep up the good work!

    • Didn’t think you were interested in social media John? Why the change of heart?

      Incidentally our friend is not that old….just comes off as senile.

  2. pocketspill

    I use a Lesche 31-T which I paid $60 for, twice…and it was well spent. It makes my hunting much more enjoyable and saves my wrists. Plus it makes neater holes than I could cut with the Lesche and the “T” handle provides a great “turf hammer” to dent up the plug and get grass re-tangled with roots. To the homeowner, I say… “I use this small, sharp spade created especially for metal detecting. It keeps the recoveries neat and the grass healthy.” … the 31T looks different than most shovels and they are fine with my explanation. Then I don’t have to worry about it – Scott Clark

    • Thanks Scott…maybe I would enjoy one of these…when you retire $60 for a shovel goes at the bottom of the shopping list.

      Curious why you had to buy this item twice?

      • pocketspill

        One of them is in the bottom of a local river…after I fell through the rotten bridge planks of a redneck farm bridge made from railroad rails, Indiana-Jones style. Caught myself 15′ above raging water and rocks. Bruised and scraped – but didn’t drop the E-trac. If I had gone through I’d probably still be in the hospital. Sadly, I did not have my GoPro cam rolling because it would have been an epic clip with lots of “beeping-out” of words. I plan to go retrieve it with a big magnet after the rain dies down.

      • pocketspill

        head over to the metal detecting community on Google+ and you’ll see what became of that shovel.

  3. Hah, okay….sorry to hear that, however it would have been great video indeed. Let me know how the retrieval effort goes.

  4. Hi Dick.
    Update on Cook County detecting Ban!
    Received this forwarded letter today from Pat Anderson, the letters worked. Meeting is set.

    Hello Everyone:

    This is to advise you that the General Superintendent of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County recently has received several requests to meet with various individuals for the purpose of discussing the Forest Preserve District’s current prohibition regarding metal detecting activities in the Forest Preserves. In response, he has scheduled a meeting, to which you are hereby invited to attend, for Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at 536 North Harlem Avenue in River Forest, Illinois to discuss this issue further.

    At your earliest convenience, please contact me, Beverly Buckley, at beverly.buckley@cookcountyil.gov to confirm your attendance at this meeting.

    Thank you for contacting the Forest Preserve District of Cook County regarding this matter. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

    Any detectorist in the area need to attend. what can we bring? Letters from returned items, examples of items removed while detecitnig, any other positive aspects of the hobby.

    Thanks Dick for sharing all these items!
    Now I guess I owe you dessert to go with dinner and drinks! LOL
    Chicago Ron

    • Mike Smith

      I believe that shovels/spades and other LARGE diggers should be left at home if detecting at public property such as a park or someone’s private yard. If you need anything wider than 2 1/2 inches to retrieve a coin or other metal object within 6 to 8 inches from the surface you need training in recovery. I have a club member that insist on using a shovel (9 wide blade) and yes he is not bad at refilling his hole but I hate it when we are at a city park and he use the shovel to recover targets. Just looks bad to passer byers!

      Love the little card at the end of your post! Something to think about!

      That is great news about the meeting! Hope both sides will listen and both sides are willing to work this problem out.

    • Thanks Mike….. Agree, doesn’t matter how neat or tidy you are, a shovel just doesn’t give off good vibes when you are in the public eye.

    • I was trying to be nice, wouldn’t want to slow you down with any extra calories. lol

    • When someone says dinner it usually includes dessert!

  5. Probes hate me. They tease me with their “go ahead…find me if you can” silent sneers. I know they are talking and laughing about me behind my back.

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